Who we are

​Our members: vice-chancellors and principals

Our members are the vice-chancellors or principals (executive heads) of universities in the UK. Our services to ​members include:
  • advocacy and representation
  • research and analysis
  • information and advice
  • members’ meetings and conferences

Members are invited to meet four times a year through 3 Members’ Meetings (February, May and December) and the Members’ Annual Conference (September).

Universities UK is a company limited by guarantee with charitable status and is financed mainly through subscription from its member institutions.


The board is our main decision-making body and meets five times a year. It focuses on UK-wide issues and those issues in the constituent nations of the UK that have UK-wide implications or interest.

  • The 22-person Board has 16 elected members: President; Vice-Presidents for England and Northern Ireland, Scotland, and Wales; Treasurer;  five policy network chairs; and six elected members.  A further six members are appointed by the Board, on advice from the Governance and Nominations Committee (GNC), to help to bring a balance of diversity and skills. 
The GNC comprises:

  • Professor Julie Lydon OBE (Chair and Vice-President Wales)
  • Professor Julia Buckingham CBE (UUK President)
  • Professor Sally Mapstone (elected Board member)
  • Professor Quintin McKellar CBE (Chair Innovation and Growth Policy Network)
  • Alistair Jarvis (UUK Chief Executive)

GNC members serve for three years, renewable once.

Board Advisory Committee

Our Board Advisory Committee comprises the president, three vice-presidents and the treasurer. It meets four times a year and reports to the Board. It acts on behalf of the Board to support and advise the chief executive; to undertake day-to-day monitoring, coordinating, planning and liaison functions; and to advise on issues delegated to it by the Board between Board meetings. 


Our president is elected from and by the membership of Universities UK for two academic years and is only eligible for re-election by special resolution of the UUK membership. The president chairs all Universities UK Members' Meetings, the Board and the Board Advisory Committee. 

The current president is Professor Julia Buckingham CBE​, Vice-Chancellor of Brunel University London, whose term of office began on 1 August 2019 and ends on 31 July 2021​. 

Senior management team

Alistair Jarvis is Chief Executive of Universities UK,  and was appointed by the Board to be responsible for the day-to-day management and administration of Universities UK.

Alistair is supported by a senior management team.

Networks and groups

Our networks and groups guide the development of our policies. They are made up of vice-chancellors and work with external experts and contacts to promote universities' interests to a wide audience.

They build and strengthen links with govern​ment agencies, professional bodies, industry and commerce, other education sectors and international audiences.

The current networks are:

  • Funding (Chair: Professor David Phoenix OBE, London South Bank University)
  • International (Chair: Professor Dame Janet Beer, University of Liverpool)
  • Longer Term Strategy (Chair: Professor Graham Galbraith, University of Portsmouth)
  • Research and Innovation (Chair: Professor Paul Boyle CBE, Swansea University)
  • Student (Chair: Professor Debra Humphris, University of Brighton​)
  • Specialist Institutions Forum (Chair: Paul Thompson, Royal College of Art)

The networks report to the Board through each of the elected chairs.​​​

Membership Committee

Professor Alistair Fitt, Vice-Chancellor, Oxford Brookes University (Chair)
Professor Karen Cox, Vice-Chancellor, University of Kent
Professor Colin Riordan, Vice-Chancellor, Cardiff University
Professor Rama Thirunamachandran, Vice-Chancellor, Canterbury Christ Church University

The committee assesses applications against the Membership criteria

Resources Committee 

Professor Paul Layzell (UUK Treasurer)
Professor Julia Buckingham CBE (UUK President)
Professor Nick Braisby (Buckinghamshire New University)
Professor Alec Cameron (Aston University)
Professor Quintin McKellar CBE (University of Hertfordshire)
Alistair Jarvis (UUK Chief Executive)
David Pemberton (Independent member)

Audit and Risk Committee

Professor Shearer West – Chair (University of Nottingham)
Professor Nick Braisby (Buckinghamshire New University)
Professor Jenny Higham (St George’s, University of London)
Professor Judith Petts (University of Plymouth)
Michael Egan (Independent member)
Professor Julia Buckingham

Professor Julia Buckingham CBE

Universities UK

Alistair Jarvis

Alistair Jarvis

Chief Executive
Universities UK

Nicky Old

Nicky Old

Director, Communications and External Relations
Universities UK

Chris Hale

Chris Hale

Director of Policy
Universities UK

Vivienne Stern

Vivienne Stern

Universities UK International

Amanda Wilkinson

Amanda Wilkinson

Director, Universities Wales
Universities Wales